Differences Between the Status of Men & Women in America

The largest disadvantages for women relative to men are in state legislature representation, community safety, and employment. For gun deaths and college education, men are worse off.

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Measuring Gender Gaps

Data for several indicators allow estimating gender gaps—in employment, working poor, state legislature, college degree, discriminatory norms, gun deaths, and community safety. Perceptions of women’s status also vary between men and women: our YouGov/ PerryUndem survey reveals that 56 percent of men believe that women are treated with respect and dignity always or often, while only a third of women say the same.

Key Gender Gaps

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  • Women
  • Men
Graph Description

Key Gender Gaps

This graph highlights key gender gaps between men and women across the United States. Gaps were measured from gender indicators such as a.) Full-time Employment, b.) Working But Poor, c.) Representation in State Legislature, d.) College Completion, e.) Discriminatory Attitudes, f.) Safety Walking Alone in Neighborhood at Night, and g.) Gun-related Deaths. Full-time Employment shows that 58.6 percent of men work full time while only 42.5 percent of women work full time. Working But Poor shows that more women are working but poor with 5.6 percent while men sit at 4.2 percent. Men outnumber women in Representation in State Legislature with 70.7 percent holding a seat while only 29.5 percent of women hold a seat. College Completion shows women ahead of men with women representing 33 percent and men representing 32 percent of college students that graduated. Discriminatory Attitudes show that women hold 65 percent while men represent 35 percent of discriminatory attitudes. Lastly, Safety Walking Alone in Neighborhood at Night shows that 79 percent of men feel safe walking alone at night while only 56.1 of women report feeling safe.

Gender Gaps in Gun Deaths

Gun-related Deaths highlight the number of deaths per 100,000 that were caused by guns. Men significantly outnumber women with 20 gun-related deaths per 100,000 deaths while women represent only 3 gun-related deaths per 100,000 deaths.

Men Hold More Full-time Jobs

In all states, higher shares of men than women are employed—overall, 59 against 43 percent. The District of Columbia is the only place where the gap is less than 10 percentage points. Utah has the largest gender gap, 26 percentage points, similar to the gender gap in employment in Kuwait.

Women are More Likely to Work, and be Poor

Women also consistently earn less than men, averaging 81 cents on the dollar. The disparity with white men is even greater for women who are Black (62 cents on the dollar), Native American (57 cents), and Latinx (54 cents). For Native American and Latinx women, these gaps translate to an average loss of more than $1 million in lifetime earnings, affecting retirement savings and social security benefits as well. Unpaid care duties are one cause driving this gap, with women paying a steep price to bear and raise children.

Men are Better Represented in State Legislatures

On average across the states, men’s representation in state legislatures (71 percent) surpasses women’s (29 percent) by 42 percentage points.

Women Edged Out Men in College Completion

In most states, higher shares of women than men have a college degree, though their lead is typically within about 3 percentage points. Yet while women have earned more college degrees than men since the 1980s and more doctoral degrees since the early 2000s, they are still paid less than men for similar work. Women with a master’s degree average earnings similar to those of men with a bachelor’s degree.

Men Hold More Discriminatory Attitudes

“It is much better for everyone involved if the man is the achiever outside the home and the woman takes care of the home and family.” 29 percent of men agreed with this statement, compared to 22 percent of women nationally.

Men Die from Gun Violence at Greater Rates

On average, men die from firearm-related homicides and suicides at a rate about six times higher than women. One reason is that men represent 86 percent of firearm suicide victims. Still, women are more likely to be a victim of gun violence: gun-related homicides committed by an intimate partner are significantly more likely for women than men. Men are more likely to own a gun, with 39 percent reporting ownership compared with 22 percent of women.

Men Feel Safer Walking Alone at Night

The gender gap in community safety is 23 percentage points, with 79 percent of men reporting feeling safe in their neighborhood, compared with 56 percent of women on average. Gaps are widest in the East South Central region—including in Alabama, Kentucky, and Tennessee—where 59 percent of women report feeling afraid while walking alone at night within a mile of their neighborhood, compared with 23 percent of men. Feelings of safety also vary across racial and ethnic lines. Our YouGov/PerryUndem survey found that nearly three in five Latinx women say that they frequently or sometimes feel unsafe because they are a woman, compared with two in five white women.

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